Google is hoping that games can do for Google Plus what they did for Facebook–get people hopelessly addicted until they're spending every waking moment playing social network games and annoying friends with automated status updates based on meaningless gameplay objectives. Um… sorry… guess I have some personal issues on that particular subject. Now where was I? Oh yeah, Google Plus has games too, and they're using video to let you know about it.
Google Plus Map Game Video Teaser
Actually… there's one game in particular they're showing off, and it basically mashes up those popular marble-tilt games for smartphones with Google Maps, allowing you to roll a blue ball down Main Street and bounce it off the town courthouse. Check it out:
While I'm a little curious about the lack of specific branding for this game (seriously, search the YouTube description or channel for the game's official name… you won't find it), the mechanics and concept of the game are perfectly laid out in just a few short seconds in this ad. The ad spells out exactly what it's talking about, where you can get it, and when it's coming… all in just a few seconds, and without narration.
And Google's smart to make a game like this, because they're exceedingly popular–nearly as popular as castle siege games like Angry Birds. People will play this, maybe some just because it's a new way to interact with and explore Google Maps.
Is there an objective to the game? In most versions of the marble game, there's a hole you're trying to guide the ball into… but I can't tell if that's the case here or if it's just a new way to explore and interact with maps. But it's the perfect kind of game for a social network–light, simple, and easy to stop or start at a moment's notice… which also makes it a great game for mobile device users.
And of course, it's not available on Facebook. And it won't be. This is a game designed to get people signed up for Google Plus, pure and simple. In fact, this game was probably produced after a meeting that started with a VP saying, "What's something fun we can do to get people to sign up for Google Plus?"
So, if you're already on Google Plus… do games make the service more valuable to you? If you're not a Google Plus user… would a game like this one interest you enough to sign up?